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Webinar Report: Documentary making for OTT Platforms

Report by Shobhit Gupta

The Media Studies department of Reva University, Bangalore organized a webinar on topic “Documentary making for OTT platforms”. The session was hosted by Prof. Manjunath M, Head and Reader of the department. The famous filmmaker Vrinda Samartha was the guest who explored the topic.

Vrinda Samartha

Vrinda is an independent filmmaker from Bengaluru known for her popular documentary Limitless which showcases 8 real-life stories of women runners across India She started her career as an ad filmmaker and moved on to produce and direct shows for regional television. She has worked for brands like TATA and Akshay Patra foundation.

While guiding the young filmmakers she said that the seed of the documentary is what you want to tell your audience. What matters is how you are telling your story and what different perspective you are giving. Starting point for a documentary filmmaker is the personal story if it comes from your surroundings, personal experience.

She also said that documentary should talk about something new, it should start the discussion, talk about a subject which has not been spoken about, bringing a new perspective. It’s called treatment whether it is positive or negative.

She guided the students on the pre-production of documentary films. She mentioned that it should have a sense of direction. You should get acquainted with your characters. It is important to spend time so that they would feel confident and they feel that you are doing justice to your story.

“Plan with your characters. How much you want them to share with you. Make them feel camera conscious free. Be crystal clear in your story.”

Vrinda Samartha

She also mentioned the tips of shooting the story like it is not necessary to shoot with expensive equipment but you should know how to capture good quality shots. It all depends on the craft. She mentioned that the students should educate themselves to shoot with small equipment.

Limitless Vrinda Samartha

In the end she told about job opportunities like there are organizations like National Geographic, BBC, Al- Jazeera which buys documentaries from independent filmmakers. But there aren’t many job opportunities. One can start its own production house if he is an independent filmmaker.

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